There was a little bit of gloom in the air around Durban this morning, but that was definitely not brought on by the indoor hockey on display. The early morning saw the cross pool playoffs for position 5-8 before the big semi-finals got underway.

Ladies IPT (Danville Park Girls School)

SF 1 – SPAR KZN Raiders 3-1 Western Province

It was a pulsating affair in which Cheree Greyvenstein (KZN) and Nicole la Fleur (WP) denied every goal scoring opportunity in the first half. It was a tactical masterstroke by Brinsley Powell for WP as they subdued the free-scoring Raiders and created the best chance of the half but failed to punish the SPAR Raiders. In the second half, the Raiders raised the tempo and eventually scored when Cindy Hack set up Shelley Higgo for the tap in, this after Kelly Reed had a goal disallowed. Kara Botes put the second away from a great team effort but WP again refused to be counted out and with four minutes remaining netted through Jamie Southgate. The ladies surged forward but were caught out late on when a goal-bound effort was stopped with a foot on the line and Kelly Reed put away the Penalty stroke in the final play of the game. The SPAR Raiders had survived a mighty test and would now be favourites to defend their crown in tonight’s final.

SF 2 – KZN Inland 1-0 North West

Remarkably the second semi-final looked set for a goalless first half but the Midlands ladies decided that would not be the case. 18 minutes of a tactical seesaw was eventually capped off by Kelly Trimborn netting and putting Inlands in front. The second half started with some controversy as the Inland ladies were denied a penalty stroke and seconds later had a goal chalked off. Elmien Marais then showed incredible skill to set herself up one-on-one against the Noxolo Martele but fired wide. Midlands created more good chances and then faced three final minute penalty corners but outstanding defence meant the side that finished 7th last year are now in the final!

5-8 Playoff Results

Mpumalanga 1 (Calitz 5)
Southern Gauteng 4 (Du Plessis 12,14, 28 & 29)

KZN Mynahs 5 (J Cormack 16 & 38, C van Niekerk 22, K Cormack 38 & Gaze 35)
Northern Blues 4 (Pitso 2, Evans 26, Mans 30 & Paans 32)

Mens IPT (UKZN Westville Campus)

SF 1 – KZN Raiders 7-3 Western Province

The heavily favoured Raiders started in that vein when they took on Western Province in the Semi-Final. Jethro Eustice fired a quick brace, one through a penalty stroke, to give them the early lead, before Ryan Julius pulled one back. That encouraged the hosts further who netted two more in quick succession through the talented Jarryd Jones. Legend Dale Isaac pulled another back for Western Province before Geoff Abbott scored a field goal to make it 5-2 at halftime. Early in the second half, Ryan Julius made it 5-3 with a penalty stroke before Greg Last and Geoff Abbott scored field goals to secure the defending champions a spot in the final.

SF 2 – Southern Gauteng 3-0 KZN Inland

Southern Gauteng was determined to get another crack at the final after losing the gold medal match last year and showed that determination with a ruthless first half against the Inland boys. The defence was perfect and capped off by a Penalty corner goal, field goal and penalty stroke through Brandon James, Julian Hykes and Kyle Marks respectively. The second half continued the one-way traffic and Southerns extended their lead through another Kyle Marks penalty stroke before Inland finally put themselves on the board through Brian Gravett. That would be just a glimmer of hope for the Inland Men, looking to emulate their ladies in making the final, as Southern Gauteng raised the tempo and Chad Futcher, Julian Hykes, and Reza Rosenberg netted in the space of 4 minutes to make it 7-1. Although they were too late to really scare Southerns, Inland had the last laugh netting three late goals through a Gavin Jelley brace and Jarred Mitchell to add respectability to the scoreline. What it ultimately means is that it’s a repeat of the 2016 final for the men!

5-8 Playoff Results

Mpumalanga 1 (Flowers 12)
KZN Mynahs 10 (Lees 4 & 14, Nyawo 27 & 37, Mackay 6 & 21, Baker 24 & 33 & Kelly-Stack 13 & 38)

Northern Blues 7 (Janse 13 & 26, Lamprecht 4, Paulo 25, 29 & 36 & Odendaal 16)
North West 3 (Botma 24, van Staden 33 & Jeffery 40)